Life of Pi by Yann Martel

  • Length: 1029 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

“Bapu Gandhi said, ‘All religions are true.’ I just want to love God” (Martel 76; ch.23) says Pi in response to being rebuked for his practice of multiple religions. The notion that religion should not be discussed in polite company is demonstrated clearly by the scene Martel depicts in Chapter 23 of “life of Pi”, in which the pundits of Hinduism, Islam and Christianity come almost to blows over Pi’s enthusiastic practice of the three. It is this youthful fascination which equips him for the turbulent time yet to face him, and it is the Truth he discovers in the three religions, unaffected by adult-like notions of exclusivity which benefits him.
From a psychological perspective, Carl Jung explained in his analytical theory that all humans share a “collective unconscious” through which we are provided with archetypal notions and concepts of the world, one of the most dominant being, God or a Supreme Being (Rathus 404). It is through socialization that these archetypes are fostered. Pi having grown up in India, was provided with a rich texture of religions to choose from, and rather than choosing one, decided to choose all three religions predominantly practiced in his country.
Being born in India a principally Hindu nation, it seems logical that Pi’s appreciation for religion would be formulated in the Hindu Temple. “I became loyal to these sense impressions even before I knew what they meant or what they were for. It is my heart that commands me so. I feel at home in a Hindu temple” (Martel 52; ch.16).
Hinduism set the groundwork for Pi’s religious journey, with the principles of a ‘Universal Reality’, of the transition of one’s karma from one life to the next, and the Supreme Energy being manifest in various avatars and deities. It is this eclectic suggestion of God’s manifestations that creates a sense of openness in Pi in seeking the commonalities among other religions, suggesting in his notion that Lord Krishna himself led him to Christianity (55).
Through Christianity, Pi became aware of the humility of God that in all his Holiness He would allow His ‘avatar’ to die for us mere humans for the sake of love. Pi was now able to understand the concept of God’s love for humanity. “I offered thanks to Christ who was alive. Then I raced down the hill on the left and raced up the hill on the right – to offer thanks to Lord Krishna for having put Jesus of Nazereth, whose humanity I found so compelling, in my way.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Life of Pi by Yann Martel." 23 Jun 2018
Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on Life of Pi, by Yann Martel - According to Arthur Tugman, “The moral of a story is better guessed than falsely expressed”. The moral of Life of Pi by Yann Martel is to help people believe in things greater, higher and different than factual things. The author tries to achieve this goal by exceptional storytelling, which becomes the most important aspect of the novel because the reader is given a choice between two stories. While talking about those who rely fully on reason, Pi, the protagonist, accuses that they “lack imagination and miss the better story” (70)....   [tags: Life of Pi, Yann Martel] 1511 words
(4.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Life of Pi by Yann Martel - Life of Pi by Yann Martel, first published in 2002, is the story of Piscine Molitor Patel. Piscine, later shortened by himself to Pi, is the main character, the protagonist, and throughout most of this novel just a teenager. At the beginning of the story the reader is taken to the world of Pondicherry, India and to the Pondicherry Zoo run by the Patel Family. The Patel family consists of Pi’s mom, Gita, his dad Santosh and his older brother Ravi. As Pi grows up he takes you through his good and bad times, he takes you through the four religions....   [tags: Life of Pi, Yann Martel] 689 words
(2 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Life of Pi by Yann Martel Essay - Life of Pi by Yann Martel The book Life of Pi was basically about the life and times of Piscine Molitor Patel. Pi grew up in India with his mother, father, and his older brother Ravi. In the following paragraphs you will learn more about what I read. Growing up in India was the best place to be to Pi. Pi's family owned the nearby zoo that was called the Pondicherry Zoo it was the only zoo in all of India. They named it the Pondicherry Zoo after the town they lived in. All the people and animals in the zoo knew Pi very well....   [tags: Life Pi Yann Martel] 1090 words
(3.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Life of Pi by Yann Martel Essay - Life of Pi is intended, so Martel tells us, to make the reader believe in God. This bold, apparently evangelical, premise locates it on a dangerous moral high ground. D.H. Lawrence warned against using the novel as a forum for the author to assert his own moral or religious belief: Morality in the novel is the trembling instability of the balance....   [tags: Life Pi Yann Martel] 1762 words
(5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Symbolism in Yann Martel's Life of Pi Essay - In both literature and real world there is an aspect that humankind has been afraid of, this aspect is death. Man and woman have this instinct to survive and to reach the goal of survival they will have to go to any extent to get there. In the novel, Life of Pi, a boy named Piscine Molitor Patel, also known as Pi Patel, was stuck in a situation that is hard for any man or woman to get out of and survive. Pi had lost his family on the way to Canada when the ship he was on sank and he was stranded out at sea with an orangutan, a Bengal tiger, hurt zebra and last a hyena....   [tags: Life of Pi Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1076 words
(3.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Savagery in The Life of Pi, by Yann Martel Essay - In the book Life of Pi, written by Yann Martel, the idea of the boundaries between savagery and humanity are tossed around quite a bit. In Pi’s life or death situation, the idea of savagery becomes a little obscured by the desperation to survive. There are several acts within the story that people who are not in Pi’s situation would possibly see as being savage. As I read the text, I see most of Pi’s actions as a need to survive. Pi creates the character of Richard Parker, who is portrayed as a Bengal tiger, to justify his incidents of savagery....   [tags: Yann Martel, survival, savage]
:: 1 Works Cited
862 words
(2.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Adversity in Yann Martel's Life of Pi Essay - ... We see Pi transform from a scared little boy to a wise young man, and it helps to show us that Pi recognized that he had to go beyond his limits and push what he thought was his "end of the line", or overcoming adversity. He realized that he had far more capabilities that he could use while sharing the lifebot with a tiger. Pi's father taught him many life-saving practices and Pi used these to his advantage when he decided to train Richard Parker. Pi was able to apply his father's wisdom of animals to the situation with Richard Parker - like using the whistle - and ended up learning something new about himself, and discovering one more piece of the puzzle that is Pi....   [tags: identity, potential, beliefs, meaning] 1107 words
(3.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Challenges in Yann Martel's Life of Pi Essay - ... In addition, Richard Parker is an obvious symbol of survival to Pi due to his color. The color orange “is the colour of survival” in the Hindu religion (Martel 138). Pi’s education of religions assists him in perceiving this connection that allows him to accept Richard Parker as more than just a threat. Therefore, many aspects of the tiger like his relationship with Pi and his physical attributions give Pi incentive to stay alive during his long journey. Though Richard Parker proves vital for survival, he also reflects Pi’s character and helps further develop it throughout the novel....   [tags: tiger, survival, reflections, god]
:: 1 Works Cited
1001 words
(2.9 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Survival in Yann Martel's Life of Pi Essay - ... Orange juice “[pulls] back her lips, showing off her enormous canines” to prove her aggression and dominance to the hyena (Martel 126). Orange Juice’s actions are out of both defense and anger. Seeing the hyena’s ruthless nature in the murder of the zebra makes Orange Juice more defensive and vicious. Her final outreach in an attempt to survive was when she “hit the beast on the head with her…arm” (Martel 131). This startling action the orangutan produces is evidence that she has abandoned her passive nature when she witnesses the hyena’s brutal capabilities....   [tags: survive, journey, death, hardships, nature]
:: 1 Works Cited
946 words
(2.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Yann Martel's Life of Pi Essay - Religion is and always has been a sensitive topic. Some choose to acknowledge that there is a God and some choose to deny this fact to the death. For those who deny the presence of a higher being, “Life of Pi” will most likely change your thought process concerning this issue. Yann Martel’s, “Life of Pi”, is a compelling story that shows the importance of obtaining religion and faith. Piscine (Pi) Patel is both the protagonist and the narrator of Martell’s religious eye-opener who undergoes a chain effect of unbelievable catastrophes....   [tags: essays research papers] 357 words
(1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

” (Martel 64; ch.17)
The zenith of Pi’s religious journey occurs when he encounters Islam, which the fundamentals of both Hinduism and Christianity are reinforced, with an added sense of devotion and brotherhood (67). Without the adult concept of exclusivity, Pi though questioned by his parents was supported in his quest for spiritual enrichment. Without this support, his youthful fascination with religion would have possibly ended then, in his youth, and not have continued through the desperate times ahead leading through to his adulthood.
While being lost at sea, Pi was able to not only find comfort and solace in his religious practices, but thought of it as a means to survival. “... I turned to God. I survived” (345) said Pi who adapted religious rituals to suit the circumstances, which brought him comfort. “Faith in God is an opening up, a letting go, a deep trust, a free act of love” (231). Such Faith leads one to a “better story” (70). It is Pi’s opening up to Faith and a letting go or ignorance of the adult notions of exclusivity which permit him to trust and love God when at sea. To trust and love when one feels the most alone, realizing one’s smallness yet receiving “spiritual guidance” from the stars (214). It was his ability to hold on to his faith in a Greater Power that enabled him to survive his time at sea.
Martel’s choice of name for his lead character; Pi, is most certainly intentional. As explained, “and so, in that Greek letter that looks like a shack with a corrugated tin roof, in that elusive, irrational number with which scientists try to understand the universe, I found refuge” (27). In choosing the name Pi, Martel enables the reader to find a connection with the character despite his cultural background and religious practices. The symbol Pi holds the same meaning in all languages when spoken in the mathematical vernacular, and suggests that this story, even with its fantastical elements can be shared by all.
Are we not all floating on a sea of uncertainty, unaware of the next impending storm of obstacles, queasy with sea-sickness when the horizon of our future illudes us. Pi’s story is a metaphor for life, one in which we devise ways and means to cope with what is dished out when we are removed from the comforts of our ‘normal’ lives. Having faith in something greater than oneself, makes for a “better story”.
Karen Armstrong explains that Mystical Religion, in which one discovers and nurtures their relationship with a personal God “is more immediate and tends to be more help in time of trouble than a predominantly cerebral faith” (212).
It is in moments of spiritual serendipity, when one finds faith in the ‘happy accidents’ of life that one is able to truly see the world and themselves, as Richard Eyre explains “Serendipity of the spirit requires shifts in our paradigm. It suggests a new way of looking at ourselves, our world and our relationship with the Being who made both” (41).
Though Pi’s story holds tragic elements it was the happy accidents of spiritual serendipity that maintained his openness and willingness to let go and discover his own religious path. A path which did not lead him to tragedy, but one which guided him along his journey, just as the stars did, enabling him to trust and love even in the face of utter adversity.

Works Cited
Armstrong, Karen A History of God. New York: Ballantine Books, 1993
Eyre, Richard Spiritual Serendipity. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997
Martel, Yann Life of Pi. Canada: Vintage Canada, 2002
Rathus, Spencer Psychology Concepts & Connections. Belmont: Thompson Wadsworth

Return to